On a cold evening in February, just after the turn of the 21st Century had occurred two New York journalists proclaimed it was time to open the bottle of wine you had been holding for years. Perhaps the timing was right because we had survived the possible end of the world that may have happened as the clock struck midnight ending the 1990s, or perhaps they looked around their own wine cellar and said, “We really need to open that bottle.” Whatever the precipice, the event that wine journalists Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher began has become an occasion.
The last Saturday of February is officially “open the bottle night.” It is an opportunity to connect over a glass, have a conversation, and share memories about why a particular bottle is special, what led you to purchase it, and what it pairs with.
It is often easy to open a bottle of white or a bottle of red to sip with dinner or enjoy on a girl’s night without thought or interest in how it was made or the story behind it. Open that bottle night is the opposite of this. Today is celebrating something special, those exceptional bottles you have cherished and are now ready to enjoy.
Each one of these selections is just that. Some are expensive, some are not, but each one is special. Open, cherish, and enjoy.
From a blend of some of the finest cru vineyards within Piedmont’s Barolo region in northwestern Italy, a new wine emerges from the importer of some of the finest wines in the region. Dalla Terra works with an incredible mix of wineries, including Inama in Soave, Badia a Coltibouno in Chianti, and Marchese di Gresy in Piedmont. Owners Brian Larkey and Scott Ades have personally selected the blend from a mix of premium vines to create Perla Terra Barolo. The wine is blended and aged for 18 months in a mix of barrel types and sizes. When combined for final bottling, the resulting wine is rustic and earthy while maintaining elegance and wonderful authenticity. Balanced and bold, the wine delivers classic notes of red cherry, wild rose, leather, and tar, with a hint of sweet spice and chocolate.
Within Paso Roble’s El Pomar sub-AVA, San Simeon Stormwatch Bordeaux style blend showcases the incredible quality coming from the region of Paso Robles. Vineyards are sustainably farmed with a focus on the terroir, with winemakers working with a hands-off approach in the winery, letting the fruit tell its story. The blend is dominant with Cabernet Sauvignon, lending cassis and black cherry layers, which melds with juicy plum and blackberry notes from Merlot and Malbec. A heavy amount if Petit Verdot (about 10%) defines the wine’s bold, robust fruit and tannin notes. However, 18 months of French oak aging softens the tannin, ensuring the wine has softness and balance. The oak adds an additional touch of spice and dark chocolate, rounding out the flavor profile and leaving with a lingering expressive finish.
We may not think of Chardonnay when we consider the wines of Tuscany. However, Marchesi Frescobaldi Castello di Pomino has been growing the white variety in the rolling hills of Tuscany since the 1850s. It did so well for the winery that when it entered into a wine contest at the Paris Expo in 1878, the wine won a gold medal in the tasting. The vineyard location is situated to perfectly ripen cool-climate Chardonnay and Pinot Bianco while locking in the fruit’s natural acidity and freshness. Pomino Bianco blends the two white varieties to create a crisp, clean, lively wine with golden orchard fruit, ripe citrus, and soft white flowers. This is an easy wine to sip any night, including tonight.
Within Uco Valley in the foothills of the Andes Mountains of Mendoza, Argentina, La Finca Mascota leans into the terroir to craft elevated, expressive varieties. Vineyards thrive at high elevations in desert-like conditions for most of the year. Thankfully, spring runoff from snow on the mountain gives the vines enough water to survive all year, producing bold, sun-ripened grapes that deliver rich, round, luscious wines. Unamine Gran Vino Tinto is a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon with Malbec and Cabernet Franc, creating a powerfully intense wine with personality and character. Layers of Morello cherry and blueberry meld with currant, soft herb, and lilac. A perfect wine to enjoy with a grilled ribeye or short ribs on a cold February night.
Every one is a winner. so drink up. This IS the last Saturday in February.
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